Laugh at me! I focus on things happening with me and my friends. Why not make comics about taboos that are not openly discussed?,” shares Akshara Ashok. The Chennai-based artist and illustrator is currently pursuing her fourth year architecture in SRM university. While most of her friends are hanging out with chart holders and drawing boards, Akshara decided to give a break to her monotonous life. She decided to start her Instagram page Happyfluffcomics during her second year of college in May 2017. Within a year, she managed to draw the attention of 70.7 k followers with 353 posts.
“Art has always played a crucial role in shaping my life. Earlier, I wanted to take up fashion designing but I ended learning architecture. The page was created to channel my creative energy into drawings and it helps uplift my mood. It was started anonymously. Even my best friends did not have any clue about my work. The moment I started receiving positive feedbacks, I revealed the secret to my friends. A lot of people made a joke about it but my friends were always there for me,” she explains.
Akshara calls herself an introvert. She believes in communicating through art rather than spending time with people. The artist also does personal illustrations. She started off with hand-drawn images on a note pad, slowly progressed to using phones and now creates professional comics. Despite her busy schedule, she makes it a point to upload one illustration a day. As you scroll down her page, the simple and cute comics are sure to put a smile on your face. What makes it special, we ask her, “After a point I decided to make jokes about my own body and my life. That was my way of coping with bad days and moods. This is my stress buster. Quite a few illustrators tend to glamorise their art work.
My comics reflect deep inner thoughts. They are bare, real and raw. Everybody who visits my page messages me asking about the relevance of these illustraions in their life, too. In fact, my posts with bras and panties are the most popular ones. I talk about periods, pooping, peeing and more of everyday stuff. People who have a starting trouble to open up find these stupid jokes to be easy to connect with and laugh about it,”Akshara says.
Although most of her works revolve around women, she has equal number of men followers. She adds that the initial days were rough. A criticism or a negative comment would put her off for the whole day. Gradually, she mustered courage to laugh at her own mistakes. With many people taking up illustration as a hobby and even a serious profession, Akshara feels, “Negative comments and trolls are always there. I decided to focus on the positives and encouraging responses that helped me grow. It came as a shock to me that there was a huge community of comic illustrators out there.
My journey got better once I started following the inspiring works of international and local artists. The scene for illustrators in the city is still developing. Most of them are from cities like Bengaluru and Mumbai. While many have succeeded taking it as a profession, there are a many who are still skeptical about it.” The artist wants to set up an online store for all her personalised illustrations.